As I walked to work each day last week, my route past the buildings, fountains, sculptures, trees, flowers, ground covers, and planters in the city attracted my attention in a new and unusual way.
I realized it had to do with the way the sunlight was changing this time of year. I experienced a different feeling at each location along the path each day with the light affecting various colors and surfaces and thus the sensation of each moment of my walk. I noticed a difference each day in each location depending on the intensity and angle of the light.
As the week went on, I realized this awareness is what artists, architects, designers, and musicians do. They often create their work based on the sensation they experience—what they perceive—rather than an exact descriptive manner or what some might consider to be “real.”
Monet came to mind as an example of an artist—an impressionist painter—who shared his perceptions of things as he saw them at the moment. Since he spent a lot of time painting in the open air, he became extremely sensitive to the fact that when light changed, his whole perception of the subject changed. He presented different aspects of things according to the changing light, time of day, and his viewpoint as the artist.
His willingness to explore and experience the same site again and again, recording how he perceived the change that came about as a result of the light and shadows depending on the time of day, was extraordinary. It took long periods of time in some cases to complete a series of these paintings.
He dedicated the second half of his career to several series paintings capturing his perception of the changes caused by light. Take some time to explore these paintings: Rouen Cathedral, Water Lilies, Poplar Series, Haystacks, Houses of Parliament series, and Morning on the Seine. They can easily be seen on the internet or in books.
You must look within for value, but must look beyond for perspective.
~ Denis Waitley
As a musician, my walk took on a rhythm that was created by the feeling of the changing perspectives along the way. The shifting rhythm of movement as I walked made me think about how we could all use this artistic process of perspective and perception to think about changes in our everyday lives.
Seeing and understanding more deeply what we experience can allow us to explore the things that occur and open our minds to new possibilities, knowing that things can and will change from moment to moment, day to day, year to year. In order to understand ourselves, other people, and the world around us, we need to shine a light on various aspects of our experiences and be able to change and adapt our perspectives. Release hardened opinions and attachments that are holding you back. Recognize the presence of other perspectives. Look at things in a new light.
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